INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers passed several health care measures this year that advocates say could save Hoosiers money.
Lowering health care costs was a top priority this session for legislative leaders, and some of the measures that made it over the finish line target hospital costs and prescription drug prices.
“I think everyone has to recognize now that it’s a new day,” said Devin Anderson, a board member of the grassroots patient advocacy organization Hoosiers for Affordable Healthcare.
Anderson said he appreciates the progress state lawmakers made in reducing health care costs for Hoosiers.
His organization pushed for House Enrolled Act 1004, which requires a third-party contractor to review the prices non-profit hospitals are charging and how they compare to 285% of the Medicare reimbursement rate, which is around the national average.
“It wasn’t as far or as fast as we would have preferred or liked,” Anderson said. “However, it is a gigantic step forward in addressing this massive problem.”
The Indiana Hospital Association is critical of the measure, arguing prices aren’t determined by hospitals themselves.
“With so many hospitals struggling right now, the targeting of a few systems will have harmful impacts on access across the state because these are the organizations that support, and even rescue, facilities on the brink,” Brian Tabor, the organization’s president, said in a statement Thursday.
A spokesperson for Community Health Network said last week the new law will impact the organization’s staffing, saying it will “challenge our financial future. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to restructure our workforce and make organizational changes that impact jobs.”
Another new law, Senate Enrolled Act 8, focuses on pharmacy benefit managers, the middlemen who negotiate drug prices with manufacturers. Starting in 2025, they’ll be required to pass on at least 85% of their cost savings from rebates and discounts to the patient.
“Let’s say they get a 50% discount off of the sales price, which is the retail price,” said Gloria Sachdev, a pharmacist. “How do we know we’re getting all of that back? We don’t.”
Sachdev, who serves as president and CEO of the Employers’ Forum of Indiana, advocated for the measure on behalf of businesses that provide health care coverage to their employees. Hoosiers should see a significant decline in prices for some medications, she said.
“The rebates can vary anywhere from 5, 10% to 80, 90% per drug,” Sachdev said.
Meanwhile, Senate Enrolled Act 7 bans non-compete agreements for primary care physicians. That law takes effect July 1.